More than 20 beds were built for kids who need them thanks to Sleep in Heavenly Peace and the work of many volunteers Saturday in the basement of the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office.

“This time, we were shooting to only build 20 beds, but I think we ended up doing 23 or 24 beds,” said Mike Foust, president of the Frankfort chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace. “It was more restricted this time just because of the amount of wood that I took with me.”

Before the 2020 build was canceled due to the pandemic, Foust and 140 volunteers built just over 50 beds during the 2019 build at CCSO.

“I think we probably ran production for about three hours,” Foust said. “This time, I wasn’t going for as many. We had been shut down due to COVID since March of 2020. We are just trying to get everybody back in the swing of things. So, we started out with about 20 beds.”

“When we had that (2019) build, we ended up delivering 40-45 beds in one day,” he added. “When we delivered them, they went to Frankfort, Lafayette, West Lafayette, Delphi, Kokomo and Lebanon. We did all of that. For this one, deliveries will be set up in the first or second week of December. I have a massive waiting list that got shut down when we shut down. Right now, we have about 180 to 200 beds that need to be built and delivered still. Our application line has also been shut down. We will get these delivered. We will plan the next build and then open the application line.”

Foust said it was hard to tell people that production was shut down due to the pandemic.

“You felt like you were letting people down, but I had to watch out for the safety of everybody also,” he said.

The Clinton County Sheriff’s Office once again provided a suitable space for such a large build as well as staff and work-release inmates who volunteered to help build beds.

“We had work-release inmate participants. We had volunteers who were employees here, and we had community volunteers,” Jail Matron Ashley Kelly said. “It is a great cause, and we are happy to be a part of it. We tried to do it last year, but COVID held us off. To allow our inmates to do community service work and volunteer for these types of causes, it is obviously a great thing.

“We are coming up on the holidays,” she added. “The Sheriff and I participate in the delivery. It is always good to go in and see the little kids’ faces when we put the beds up. It is awesome. Usually, it is a multi-bed delivery. The last one had three siblings, so they got three beds that come with mattresses and donated blankets. It is always fun to see their faces light up. It is one of those things that we take for granted. It is nice to give back to those in our community.”

The Clinton County Sheriff’s Office is not done with its holiday charitable work, either. They will soon participate in Stockings for Soldiers, creating care packages for soldiers overseas with help from the Yellow Ribbon Project in Cincinnati.

“The help that we get from Sheriff Rich and his wife Ashley is absolutely phenomenal,” Foust said. “They told me I can use the basement whenever we have a build. They bring out a few of their inmates – the work release people – and they get to work down in the shop with us.

“All of the inmates that we had, every one of them is asking how they can stay involved, what they need to do,” he added. “Some of them say they are from Chicago, but they still want to know what they can do. Every one of them absolutely love it.”

Community volunteers that helped build beds Saturday included members of the Clinton Prairie FFA, Fountain of Life Church (Rossville), the Indianapolis chapter of the Bearded Villains, and off-duty members of the Westfield Police Department.

Arni’s of Frankfort donated pizzas for the build crew while Bridy’s Bakery and Gem City Junction provided baked goods and coffee. Graphics Guardian provided signage and apparel. Quilts for the beds are provided by the Lafayette chapter of Quilts for Kids, and both Clinton Central and Clinton Prairie have donated blankets to Sleep in Heavenly Peace. Navarrete Auto Sale is a sponsor, and Rural King donated bolts and screws for the assembly. Gator Finishing out of Ohio provides all of the sandpaper Foust needs.

“Robinson Wood (Solutions) always makes sure I get my lumber at the best price possible while donating some lumber, too,” Foust said. “The price of (wood) has gone up, but Robinson Wood don’t try to make money off of us. They sell the wood to us at cost.

“Lowe’s is a national sponsor, so we get a lot of help from them if we go ask,” he added. “Lowe’s of Lafayette has treated me good, too. That is where we started building beds.”

Foust says the next build will “more than likely” be in the basement of the CCSO again.

“It is phenomenal that they offer that,” he said. “We can use the basement there, so we load everything into the basement and set it up. Rich and Ashley Kelly absolutely care about this community and what they can do to help make it a better place. We always have a good time. A handful of food establishments pitch-in so that we can feed everybody, and we just go to town making beds.”

“Without Rich and Ashley, it would be very hard,” Amber Foust said. “Clinton County has a Sheriff that cares.”